Russian ambassador urges NATO to abandon military domination policyRussian Politics & Diplomacy March 30, 21:05
Three Russian cities interested in hosting 2023 Basketball World ChampionshipSport March 30, 21:02
White House gives no specific dates for Russian-US summitWorld March 30, 20:23
United Arab Emirates shows interest in Russian helicoptersBusiness & Economy March 30, 20:19
NATO secretary general says ceasefire in Donbass works only on paperWorld March 30, 19:47
Putin not against Russian businessman Deripaska speaking to US Congress about ManafortRussian Politics & Diplomacy March 30, 18:55
Russian space rocket center receives first tested engines for Soyuz spacecraftScience & Space March 30, 18:42
Ukrainian president orders to implement ceasefire starting from April 1World March 30, 18:41
Google agrees with basic terms of amicable agreement with Russian anti-trust regulatorBusiness & Economy March 30, 18:18
VILNIUS, June 30, /ITAR-TASS/. Referendum on the sales of farmland to foreigners that was held in Lithuania Sunday has been recognized invalid, as the turnout of voters at polling stations did not reach the 50% required by law, Zenonas Vaigauskas, the chairman of the Central Electoral Commission of the Lithuanian Republic told a news conference that was held about midnight.
“The turnout was 14.2%, which is far from enough to declaring a plebiscite valid,” Vaigauskas said.
Sunday, the 2.53 million Lithuanians with franchise had an opportunity to express their opinion on the issue put up for the voting.
Vaigauskas indicated that the official results would be released on Thursday.
“The Central Electoral Commission, however, doesn’t see any factors that could influence the assessment of this referendum radically,” he said.
The referendum on sales of farmlands to foreigners was held pursuant to a popular initiative. For the first time ever, public activists managed to gather 300,000 signatures in support of the idea and the authorities had to accept it.
However, initiators of the motion say the government has done everything in its power to doom it to failure.
“Information (about the referendum) was hushed up and blocked in any imaginable way from the very beginning,” Pranciskus Sliuzas, a member of the steering committee of the referendum told reporters.
The initiators insisted that it was to be held simultaneously with the presidential election but the country’s political leadership did not agree to it citing procedural formalities.
Lithuania pledged to open its market of farmland in full when it joined the EU in 2004 but it managed to get a delay, which expired May 1, 2014.
Lithuanian society is split over a possible authorization of sales of land to foreigners.
“Any competitiveness of our farmers, who get incomparably smaller direct subsidies per hectare of land than the farmers in ‘Old Europe’, is out of the question,” an adversary of free sales/purchases of land said.
The low turnout of voters Sunday threw a face-saving lifeline to the Lithuanian government, helping it to escape legislative contradictions with Brussels, which might have emerged had the majority of voters opted for renunciation of the sales of farmland to foreign customers.